Unfortunately, most MOB drills do little to prepare you for the real thing. The best MOB drills I've participated in were using a weighted dummy in a PFD. Hauling something that weighs 150 lbs. out of the water onto the boat that can't assist you at all in its "rescue" gives you a pretty good idea of how bad it will be.
I've also had to do some real MOB recoveries... and it is always amazing to me how quickly a short period of time in the water can sap the strength of even a very fit person.
Staying on the boat and keeping people on the boat is a much better option than all the practice in MOB drills... You still need to do the MOB drills for when the stuff hits the fan, but it is far, far better to try and avoid having to put that practice in to actual use.
Many boats are particularly ill-equipped to deal with an MOB. Mine, fortunately, is not one of them, having relatively little freeboard at the amas, and making recovering a MOB, or in the case of last summer a DOB... much simpler. Hoisting a 80-90 lb. labrador aboard wasn't much fun, but there was no way it was going to get back on the boat it came off of initially without being on another boat first. I don't think it would have been possible at all if the dog didn't have a good doggie PFD with a handle on the back.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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